Education

Valley schools prepare for high temperatures

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

When temperatures rise, Valley school districts take extra precautions to keep students safe.

At Hoover High school, Athletic Director Tim Carey said, administrators plan well in advance for the heat.

During the last two months of the school year, P.E. Courses are either moved indoors, where fans keep the kids cool, or to the pool, where the cool water helps the students body temperatures.

"when it's an outdoor sport it's difficult to keep them out of it, but we'll give them as much water breaks as we can and if we see someone in distress because of the heat, we'll get them out of it as quickly as we can, get the athletic trainer involved and make sure we get them hydrated," he said.

The district also has strict regulations in place for after school sports. For example, when temperatures reach between 95-99 degrees, coaches must provide an ample amount of water, allow athletes to take water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration and monitor them for necessary action.

When temperatures rise to 100-104 degrees, extra measures kick in such as monitoring indoor gyms to make sure the temperature doesn't become hotter than the outside, frequent hydration whenever needed and if possible, adjusting practice to take place before 11am and after 7pm.

If the mercury climbs to 105 degrees or more, schools prepare for a potential Red Flag notification from the district. A Red Flag means all practices, games and events are canceled. If it's safe to play, football players will not be allowed to wear their pads in the heat.

"Our number one priority is the safety of our students so we'll make adjustments if necessary," said Carey.

The thermometer isn't the only device schools pay close attention too. Air quality also plays a role in the safety of students, therefore schools in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the San Joaquin Valley air basin portion of Kern Counties, receive daily emails from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District alerting them to the forecast.

Using a color coded flag system ranging from green (which is good) to Purple (which is unhealthy), students, faculty and coaching staff can learn about the air quality and better protect students from air pollution exposure. It's a program Fresno Allergist Dr. William Ebbeling believes is an important tool in keeping students safe from potentially dangerous particulate matter.

"Air quality doesn't cause asthma, but it can aggravate it something fierce," said Ebbeling. "I think when it (the flag system) hits orange, it says unhealthy for sensitive groups, I think it's unhealthy for everybody at that point and when it gets red or purple, we need to stay out of completely."

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heat wave, education, linda mumma
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